Christmas Eve always makes me feel lonely. This was our day – Dad’s and mine.
When I lived at home, I’d help him with his ‘shopping’. First off, he would stock up at Verlings Off Licence – always a generous man, the back of the car would be dragging when we left there. Then he’d take me somewhere lovely for lunch. I didn’t care where we went because it was always special – just the two of us.
When I was at college, he’d collect me from the flat. Bags of stuff and one hungover student put into the car. He’d take me for something to eat and we’d sink a few festive pints. He was always thrilled that at least one of his children drank Guinness, delighting in telling me that it would put hairs on my chest!
And after the chat and the laughs, we’d head home – into a flurry of last minute preparations, present wrapping, brussel sprout peeling, mushy pea soaking, before the influx of relations and friends over the following days.
When Dad passed, that all changed. The house fell silent. The preparations ceased. No one called any more. It was all so different.
Christmas changed again when I became a mum and marvelled at the excitement of my tiny tot waiting for Santa and delighting in all the presents she got. Having Christmas dinner with family is so wonderful.
And yet, there will always be a part of me that longs to be sat in ‘The Yacht’, sinking a few pints and spending precious time with that truly special man in my life – my Dad.